JUNE 17, 2016 — The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY, is suspending the traditional Sea Year — actually a period in both sophomore and junior years when midshipmen are assigned to a variety of operating U.S. -flag merchant vessels.
According to the Academy's website the Sea Year is "part of the fabric of Kings Point, dating back to 1942."
Now, it seems, the Sea Year is in jeopardy because MARAD can't find appropriate means of extending beyond campus its efforts to protect Midshipmen against potential sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation has posted this notice from the Academy:
While the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) have made consistent efforts to address sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus over the last few years, we've grappled with appropriate means of extending these efforts during "Sea Year" when the Midshipmen are off campus training on working U.S. merchant marine vessels.
The safety of these young women and men are our highest priority, and the USMMA is standing down having Midshipmen serve on these vessels until it is assured that their training will be carried out in a safe environment.
On June 24th, MARAD is convening a Call-to-Action with the maritime industry to address these issues, as well as their overall safety, as we begin to develop a comprehensive plan that protects the Midshipmen.
We are making every effort to ensure an on-time graduation for any affected students.